Planning for Progress in Cook County

Nov 10, 2013

Planning for Progress in Cook County

Update: The Cook County Planning for Progress strategic plan was unamiously approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners on January 21, 2015.

Please download and read the Planning for Progress final plan and the appendices Partnering for Prosperity, Workforce Report, and PFP Public Comment today. 

Cook County is the largest county in the state, encompassing the City of Chicago and 130 incorporated municipalities. The County is about to embark on an important strategic planning process: Planning for Progress. This process will lead to the development of a new Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The County is partnering with CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program to capitalize on these planning efforts, achieving countywide and subregional goals that will provide a higher quality of life for its residents, workers, and visitors.

What is a Consolidated Plan?

Each year, Cook County receives Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These funds are utilized to support a variety of community development, affordable housing, and economic development programs and projects throughout suburban Cook County primarily for the benefit of low- and moderate-income households. Past initiatives have included housing rehabilitation, downpayment assistance, social services, infrastructure, and workforce development. As a recipient of these funds, the County is required to prepare and submit a Con Plan to HUD every five years. A new Con Plan must be developed and submitted to HUD by August 2015 to cover 2015-19. The Con Plan process will assess local assets, resources, needs, market conditions, and opportunities.

What is a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy?

A CEDS aims to unify the public and private sectors via the development of a targeted strategy to expand and strengthen local and regional economies. Such plans often identify important industrial clusters and then consider ways in which to boost the competiveness of these industries, such as workforce development needs and priority infrastructure projects. The County must submit a new CEDS to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) by February 2015 to cover 2015-19. The new CEDS, which is required to apply for assistance under the EDA's Public Works or Economic Adjustment programs, will create detailed strategies that build off and expand the findings outlined in the County's 2013 report, Partnering for Prosperity: An Economic Growth Action Agenda for Cook County.

A Vision for a New Plan

Given the similarity in analysis, outreach, and timeframes, the development of a new CEDS and Con Plan offers the County an opportunity to create a combined plan: Planning for Progress. This document will provide a higher quality of life for residents by strategically planning for future housing, community, and economic development needs throughout the County. Creating a single plan for related funding sources will maintain cohesiveness and help the County be more efficient and coordinated in using a wide spectrum of federal funds to address local issues. GO TO 2040's recommendation to pursue coordinated investments emphasizes the value of this strategic approach.

Over the next two years, the County, with technical assistance from CMAP, will be preparing Planning for Progress. Outreach is a key component of a successful planning process. CMAP and the County are committed to the following in developing this strategic plan.

  • Initiating a Countywide and sub-regional dialogue around housing, community, and economic development issues and strategies.
  • Engaging partners, stakeholders, and citizens in the development, review, and implementation of the proposed plan.
  • Identifying overall and geographically focused priorities, as well as five-year and annual goals and objectives.
  • Aligning and coordinating Federal, State, and/or local resources for expanded community impact.

Download a brief one-page description about Planning for Progress. 

Descargue una página de breve descripción sobre Planeando para el Progreso.

Public Engagement

A public kickoff meeting was held on October 24 at CMAP to kick off the Cook County Planning for Progress strategic plan and discuss the key role that all key regional and subregional groups, organizations, partners, and the public will play in its development.

The first round of subregional workshops were held in early 2014 in Blue Island, Berwyn, and Arlington Heights. These workshops served to understand the planning and development needs and priorities that Planning for Progress should address throughout Cook County from residents and workers, public officials, business leaders, and individuals working in the affordable housing, economic development, and/or community development fields. 

A series of interactive open house workshops were in November 2014 in Elmwood Park, Mount Prospect, East Hazel Crest, and downtown Chicago to review and provide further input for the Planning for Progress draft plan. Representatives from Cook County DPD and CMAP were in attendance to gather feedback, answer questions, and provide clarifications regarding the draft plan. 

View photos from the events on Flickr and Pinterest.

The posters displayed during each subregional workshop can be downloaded by clicking on the download links below. These posters include information and data about the various topics specific to each subregion that Planning for Progress will address. 

Download the posters displayed during the South Cook County workshop in the City of Blue Island on January 15, 2014. 

Download the posters displayed during the West Cook County workshop in the City of Berwyn on January 29, 2014.

Download the posters displayed during the North Cook County workshop in the Village of Arlington Heights on February 11, 2014.

Join the conversation about Planning for Progress and hear what others have to say around the region by posting your ideas and comments on Twitter via the hashtag #CCPFP

Please stay up-to-date about future Planning for Progress events by visting this project page or by emailing Berenice Vallecillos ( your contact information to be placed on the project email list. 

News Coverage



Jennifer Miller, Program Manager, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development ( or 312-603-1072)

Barbara Maloof, Public Information Officer, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development ( or 312-603-1004)

Jonathan Burch, Project Manager, CMAP ( or 312-386-8690)

To Top

Planning for Progress Final Plan

Appendix A: Partnering for Prosperity

Appendix B: Workforce Report

Appendix C: Planning for Progress Public Comment